The Ronald McDonald House in Spokane hosts families with children battling illness. The staff, volunteers and other families support one another and love the sick children among them, knowing they will lose some of them.
One of those children, Katelyn Roker, 6, died recently of neuroblastoma, a cancer that attacks nerve tissue. Many people rallied around Katelyn, both in Spokane and in her hometown, Kalispell, Mont.
When they heard Katelyn was coming home from Spokane to die in her home, volunteers in Kalispell, redecorated her room. A donor paid for a private jet to ferry her from Spokane to Kalispell.
Katelyn shared her story with other children and adults. In the photo here, she's giving a talk to Ronald McDonald House families last February.
Mike Forness, executive director of Ronald McDonald House, attended Katelyn's funeral, along with at least four other families who got to know Katelyn and her family while staying at the house in Spokane. He wrote to the board: "Katelyn’s service was very honoring and the Big Sky country of Montana was as blue as her eyes that day."
(Photo courtesy of Ronald McDonald House)